Saturday, December 27, 2008

Great Article

I was doing my daily article reading and I came across this article from This encompassed my thoughts exactly so I thought I would share it on here. Check it out:

Merry Christmas, Bobby Chris Shugart
"So, what are you doing for a living these days?" Bob asked me. We're sitting on the couch at one of those tedious holiday get-togethers, you know, the ones where you're supposed to be nice to family members you never see except during major holidays and funerals. I think Bob is my wife's brother-in-law's second cousin or something.
"I'm the assistant editor and a writer for Testosterone magazine," I say. Bob looks at me with a blank expression on his face, as if I'd just told him I sell handmade testicle warmers beside the freeway and was looking to open franchises across the nation.
"It's a bodybuilding magazine," I say.
Blank expression. Deer caught in the headlights. Ronnie Coleman doing trigonometry.
"Oh," Bob finally says, "I heard you were, like, one of those bodybuilder guys or something. So, what's that like, you know, working out every day and stuff? I just don't have time to lift weights all day, but I have been meaning to get rid of this beer belly." He takes another sip of beer. "What do you suggest?" Sip.
At first I was a little offended. I wanted to grab him up and say, "You can't tell I'm a bodybuilder?! Look at my ass! Now, if that's not a nice round squat-built piece of sirloin, I don't know what is! You think that comes naturally? I can crack walnuts with this puppy! Wanna see? Huh, punk? Do ya? Do ya?"
Then I realize this just might cause a scene and could cost me several Christmas presents. I was planning on returning any presents I got and using the money to buy a power rack, so I didn't want to jeopardize this gift getting opportunity. I also realized that old Bob probably had a certain preconceived image of a bodybuilder and I just didn't fit that image. I'm not gorilla huge; I weigh about 205 at 5'11" right now. (When I first started lifting I was a pudgy 159, so that's not too shabby.) Also, I wasn't wearing clown pants, a fluorescent string tank top, a hanky on my head and one of those little fanny packs. And isn't that what real bodybuilders are supposed to wear?
Bob continued to sit there drinking his Natural Light, smoking a cigarette and waiting for an answer, oblivious to the fact that he'd come this close to seeing some serious walnut- crunching ass power. I tried to figure out how I could explain to the average guy what the typical T-Man does and why he does it. How could I get him to understand what it is we do, how we feel, how we live? So I took a deep breath and told him something like this:
"Well, Bob, I guess you could use the term bodybuilder if you really need a label for what it is we do. Most of us actually don't stand on stage and compete, though. We lift weights and manipulate our diets so that we'll look good naked. Sure, it's healthy too, and we'll probably live a longer and more productive life than the average guy, but mostly it's about the naked thing. Truthfully, it goes beyond even that.
"Let's be honest here. We do it because of people like you, Bob. We look at you sitting there with your gut hanging over your belt and we watch you grunt and groan just getting out of a chair. Guys like you are our inspiration, Bob. You're better than Anthony Robbins, Bill Phillips, Deepak Chopra, and Zig fucking Ziglar all wrapped up into one. We love it when guys like you talk about not having time to exercise. Every time we see you munching on a bag of potato chips, you inspire us. You're my shot in the arm, Bob, my living and breathing wake-up call, my own personal success coach.
"You want to know what it is we do? We overcome. We're too busy to train, too, but we overcome. We're too busy to prepare healthy meals and eat them five or six times a day, but we overcome. We can't always afford supplements, our genetics aren't perfect, and we don't always feel like going to the gym. Some of us used to be just like you, Bob, but guess what? We've overcome.
"We like to watch 'normal' people like you tell us about how they can't get in shape. We smile and nod sympathetically like we feel your pain, but actually, we're thinking that you're a pathetic piece of shit that needs to grow a spine and join a gym. You smile sheepishly and say that you just can't stay motivated and just can't stand that feeling of being sore. (For some reason you think that admitting your weaknesses somehow justifies them.) We listen to you bitch and moan. We watch you look for the easy way out. Because of people like you, Bob, we never miss a workout.
"You ask us for advice about diet and training and usually we politely offer some guidance, but deep inside we know you won't take our advice. You know that too. We smile and say, 'Hope that helps. Good luck,' but actually we're thinking, 'Boy, it would suck to be you.' We know that 99% of people won't listen to us. Once they hear that it takes hard work, sacrifice and discipline, they stop listening and tune us out.
"We know they wanted us to say that building a great body is easy, but it just isn't. This did not take five minutes a day on a TorsoTrack. We did not get this way in 12 short weeks using a Bowflex and the Suzanne Somers' 'Get Skinny' diet. A good body does not cost five easy payments of $39.95.
"We like it that while you're eating a candy bar and drinking Mountain Dew, we're sucking down a protein shake. You see, that makes it taste even better to us. While you're asleep we're either getting up early or staying up late, hitting the iron, pushing ourselves, learning, succeeding and failing and rising above the norm with every rep. Can you feel that, Bob? Can you relate? No? Good. This wouldn't be half as fun if you could.
"We do it because we absolutely and totally get off on it. We do it because people like you, Bob, either can't or won't. We do it because what we do in the gym transfers over into the rest of our lives and changes us, physically, mentally, maybe even spiritually. We do it because it beats watching fishing and golf on TV. By the way, do you know what it's like to turn the head of a beautiful woman because of the way you're built? It feels good, Bob. Damned good.
"When we're in the gym, we're in this indescribable euphoria zone. It's a feeling of being on, of being completely alive and aware. If you haven't been there, then it's like trying to describe color to a person who's been blind since birth. Within this haze of pleasure and pain, there's knowledge and power, self-discipline and self-reliance. If you do it long enough, Bob, there's even enlightenment. Sometimes, the answers to questions you didn't even know you had are sitting there on those rubber mats, wrapped up in a neat package of iron plates and bars.
"Want to lose that beer belly, Bob? I have a nutty idea. Put down the fucking beer. I'll tell you what, Bob. Christmas morning I'm getting up real early and hitting the iron. I want to watch my daughter open her presents and spend the whole day with her, so this is the only time I have to train. The gym will be closed, so I'm going out in my garage to workout. You be at my house at six in the morning, okay? I'll be glad to help you get started on a weight training program. It'll be colder than Hillary Clinton's coochie in there, so dress warm.
"But let me tell you something, Bob. If you don't show up, don't bother asking me again. And don't you ever sit there and let me hear you bitch about your beer belly again. This is your chance, your big opportunity to break out of that rut. If you don't show up, Bob, you've learned a very important lesson about yourself, haven't you? You won't like that lesson.
"You won't like that feeling in the pit of your stomach either or that taste in your mouth. It will taste worse than defeat, Bob. Defeat tastes pretty goddamned nasty, but what you'll be experiencing will be much worse. It will be the knowledge that you're weak, mentally and physically. What's worse is that you'll have accepted that feeling. The feeling will always be with you. In the happiest moments of your life, it'll be there, lying under the surface like a malignant tumor. Ignore it at your own peril, Bob.
"Don't look at me like that either. This just may be the best Christmas present you'll get this year. Next Christmas, Bob, when I see you again, I'm going to be a little bigger, a little stronger, and a little leaner. What will you be? Will you still be making excuses? This is a gift, Bob, from me to you. I'm giving you the chance to look fate in those pretty eyes of hers and say, 'Step off, bitch. This is my party and you're not invited.' What do you say, Bob? Monday, Christmas morning, 6am, my house. The ball's in your court."
Okay, so maybe that's not the exact words I used with Bob, but you get the picture. Will Bob show up Monday? I don't know, but I kind of doubt it. In fact, Bob will probably take me off his Christmas card list. He probably thinks I've got "too much Testosterone," like that's a bad thing. I think Bob is just stuck in a rut, and as the saying goes, the only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.
The way out of the rut is to make major changes in your life, most of which won't be too pleasant in the beginning. The opportunity to make those changes seldom comes as bluntly as I put it to Bob. Most of the time, that opportunity knocks very softly. What I did was basically give Bob a verbal slap in the face. You can react two ways to a slap. You can get angry at the person doing the slapping, or you can realize that he was just trying to get you to wake up and focus on what you really want and, more importantly, what it'll take to get it.
If you're a regular T-mag reader, I doubt you need to be called out like Bob. But maybe you've caught yourself slacking a little here lately. Maybe you've missed a few workouts or maybe you started a little too early on the usual holiday feasting, like, say, back in September. Just remember that the time to start working on that summer body is now. The time to get rid of those bad habits that hold you back in the gym is now. You want to look totally different by next Christmas? Start now. This isn't because of the holidays or any corny New Year's resolutions either. The best time is always now.
Christmas day I want you to enjoy being with your family and friends. I want you to open presents, sip a little eggnog and have a good meal. But if your regularily scheduled workout happens to fall on December 25th, what will you be doing at six o'clock that morning?
That's what separates us from guys like Bob.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Nutrition Bite

Dining Out: Do’s and Don’ts

When going out to a restaurant to eat, choosing foods wisely will make your visit a whole lot healthier. Don’t be afraid to ask the server if they have any healthier options on the menu or if you can order something prepared a certain way. The best ways to have your food prepared are baked, broiled, roasted, or steamed. One way you should never have your food prepared is fried.
When ordering keep some things in mind to help make your order healthy:
Appetizers: Shrimp cocktail, fruit cocktail, melon, and crackers are great starters.

Breads: Ask if the bread is whole-grained and avoid using large amounts of better. Not using butter at all would be you best choice however.

Soups: Broth-based soups, minestrone, lentils, and bean soups.

Salads: Try to limit the amounts of cheese, bacon bits, olives, and high-fat dressings. Stick with the veggies and croutons.

Seafood and Poultry: Request your food to be broiled, baked, roasted, steamed, or stir-fried. Also ask that it be done dry or with very little oil because many chefs tend to use a large amount of oil or butter to prepare their food.

Beef: If you order large portions of meat then reduce the size and take the left-overs home to eat for another meal. Also, trim the visible fat or ask for extra-lean cuts of meat.

Pasta: Order pasta served with tomato sauces rather than high fat sauces such as cheese, oil, or cream sauces.

Vegetables: Request your veggies to be steamed or prepared with no butter and sauces served on the side.

Potatoes: A baked potato can be a good source of carbs however, ask that toppings be served on the side so you can control the amount used. Try to avoid large amounts of fatty toppings such as butter, and bacon bits.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tis the Season

What's happenin folks? It's that time of the year again. The holidays are here and the new year is right around the corner. The malls are packed and crazed people are rushing to finish their present buying. Everyone is thinking about their "New Year's Resolution" which a majority of these will involve health in some way or another. Whether your new goals include weight loss or strength gains or something totally off the topic of health make sure you stick to these goals and really focus on achieving them this time around. When setting your goals try writing them down and putting them somewhere that they will be seen daily. It has been said that there is a 90% success rate in people who write down their goals. That is an amazing percentage of success so give it a try; being reminded daily of what you have set out to achieve will keep you honest and always working. I am a believer in the "law of attraction". I feel that if you truly believe you will succeed and you keep yourself to it then you will succeed. You get what you expect. So stay positive in your journey to success and keep discouragement to a minimum. Make smaller, short-term goals (check points); taking care of the small things will ultimately take care of the bigger picture. Just keep pushing towards the finish and you will get there.

Keep it 100 these holidays and take care of the small things first and the rest will fall into place.

A little something for your holiday enjoyment...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nutrition Bite

7 Ways to Better Your Eating Habits

There are a lot of different things being said out there about how to eat or what is healthier. Some of these ideas work and some don’t. However, it is too much to try to determine which works for you and which doesn’t as well as trying to afford to eat these certain ways that you are being told. Here are a few things to keep in mind about eating that are basic and if followed will help you out without having to go searching the internet for the next dieting craze. Incorporate these ideas into your eating plan and you will be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle.

-Eat every 2-3 hours. You should eat between 5 and 8 meals per day.
-Eat complete, lean protein with each meal.
-Eat fruits or vegetables with each food meal.
-Ensure that 25-35% of your energy intake comes from fat, with your fat intake split equally between saturates, monounsaturates, and polyunsaturates.
-Ensure that your carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables.
-Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and green-tea.
-Eat mostly whole foods (with exception to work-out drinks).

Follow these ideas the majority of the time and your diet will improve by large amounts.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Random Thoughts

Well, it's finals week and i figured I would just shoot off a few random thoughts; try to clear the head out a little bit.

I love being in the gym and seeing all of the guys who think they are bigger than they really are and throw on a big amount of weight then perform the exercise through about 1/8 the range of motion that they should be doing it in. OK guy, you put a lot of weight on yet, no one is impressed because your squat looked like a fucking curtsy. Lower the weight and do the exercise properly with a full range of will get more out of it and no one will think less of you so don't worry.

I love crunch food and a lot of it.

Finals week always brings out the ridiculousness in everyone..well almost everyone. People stay up all night cramming, worry to death about tests and paper deadlines, and tend to feel they failed everything they attempted. Everyone just needs to calm down and realize it's just school...take it down a notch and relax...I guarantee that you will get more out of your studying if you are calm and not worried plus you won't have to chug 10 express double cappuccinos just to stay awake since you haven't experienced sleep in 3 days. It's not the end of the world if you do bad on one test so keep that in mind and I bet you do just fine.

The library is like a bar right now. I went the other night and saw more people and more attractive girls than I ever have at any bar I have been to. Plus they were all in sweats and glasses and that's sexy.

I want a magic bullet blender.

Next semester my lifting partner and I are starting to box squat. I can't wait. Box squatting makes you get deep into your squat plus it incorporates and strengthens the hips a lot more. It is also known to effectively increase your squat max.

I hope Santa Claus thinks I was good this year...

I am going to be having guest articles posted as soon as my guest columnists write something for me to post so look out for those...they should be good and very thought provoking.

An interpolated twitch is when an impulse is given to a maximally contracted muscle to determine if the subject is in fact maximally contracting.

I'm gonna go back to that new bar tonight and see if I can pick up a girl...

Friday, December 12, 2008


This is what you call having stability and core strength...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

It's finals time again and the stress levels are up (well, not for this guy). It's time to pull all nighters and make the library home for the next week. Sleep is pushed to the back burner and 4 hours becomes a "good" night. Most students don't think twice about this and figure the massive amounts of studying will help them get good grades. Well, the truth is it's just not worth it.

Sleep is important for the body and even though you may be cramming hours of knowledge into your brain when people like me are in the middle of a great dream, (a dream where I reach a PR lift while being watched by all the girlies and then laugh at the scrawny, frat boy posing in the mirror) you're probably not retaining as much as you possibly could. Sleep is important for the physical as well as the mental aspects of the body. Let's take a break from your late night rendezvous with chemistry and look at the effects of sleep on the body.

Growth and Restoration
The secretion of growth hormone reaches its peak in deep sleep
Blood supply to the muscles increases
Metabolic activity is at its lowest, which is optimal for tissue repair

Immune Function:
Sleep deprivation makes you more acceptable to colds and infections

Memory Storage and Retention
It is during REM sleep that the growth phase of specialized neural connections to physical memories takes place in the brain
If your sleep is disturbed, then you are less likely to preserve newly obtained knowledge in your long- term memory

The effects of a lack of sleep are both detrimental to the physical body as well as the mental body, so even though you may have a week of impossible exams, make sure that your sleep is not being sacrificed because honestly, your cram sessions could just be a waste (not to mention your physical goals will be placed out of reach).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why Do I Have a Blog?

I was talking with a friend today and was telling her about SwonkDiesel and she said to me, "Why do you have a blog?" I gave her some reasons about connections and whatnot and as I finished my walk across campus I thought more about her question. Why do I have a blog? Is it to fill the empty slots of boredom I have throughout the week? Do I blog because other people do it? After really looking at the question I came up with reasons why I do what I do...

In today's world success is not measured by what you know but who you know. Don't get me wrong, knowledge is important and is a must in whatever your field may be but it's much harder to get somewhere if you don't know someone. I created this blog with intentions to make a few connections. This is not something that will happen over night and truthfully, I may never meet anyone through this. However, I am putting myself and my thoughts onto a screen for the rest of the world to see. There is always the possibility that the right person might come across my site and contact me and that connection could set me up for something great. Connections are the key. All my life I have been the shy kid that no one really knew so my connections were limited. Since I have hit college however, my networking ability has improved greatly. During my undergrad years I became close with everyone in my area of study. I basically owned the gym and even today I still get hooked up there. Now at UK for my graduate program I know people all around my field once again. I have connections in areas that help me and later in life these connections will definitely come in handy. In an article by Robb Rogers he explains, "Be a friend and build relationships and success will inevitably follow."

Another reason I have started this site is to have a journal for my thoughts. Those who really know me know that my mind is a jumbled pile of shit and random thoughts are constantly streaming in and out of my thought process. This site supplies me with a space to record some of these thoughts and put them in writing. I will always be able to look back at this and recall certain thoughts I had on various topics. It's almost like an electronical journal.

The final reason I started this blog is to share my thoughts with the world. I became a trainer because I wanted to help impose change on those who wanted some type of change. I want to share my knowledge to help better someone. That's what I am doing on here. I am sharing my knowledge so that maybe someone out there will read it and what they read will help them reach a goal in their life. I want to spread my metaphorical seed. Put my knowledge out there for others to learn. I also put my knowledge out there in hopes that people will provide feedback and maybe correct me in my errors. I want to help better others while they help better me. I want to change the world.

These are the reasons I post and I hope that my goals can be achieved and somewhere out there others are achieving their goals with some help from me.


Bigger Stronger Faster

I got to watch the documentary "Bigger Stronger Faster" last night; a film taking a look into the world of steroids. Similar to the style of "Supersize Me", the film interviews a number of people from doctors, to users; getting aspects and arguments from both sides. Here is a synopsis of the film.

The documentary examines the steroid use of the director Christopher Bell and his two brothers who all grew up idolizing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and Sylvester Stallone, and also features professional athletes, medical experts, fitness center members, and US Congressman talking about the issue of anabolic steroids. Beyond the basic issue of anabolic steroid use, Bigger, Stronger, Faster* examines the lack of consistency in how America views drugs, cheating, and the lengths people go to achieve success.This includes looking beyond the steroid issue to such topics as Tiger Woods laser eye correction to 20/15 vision, professional musicians use of anxiety reducing drugs, or athletes' dependence on cortisone shots, which are a legal steroid.The film also takes a skeptical examination on claims to the health risks of steroids and is highly critical of the legal health supplement industry.
The documentary makes you think about all of the arguments you can hear against the use of steroids. I myself would not take steroids but I think the bias against the use of steroids is ridiculous. I believe that if someone wants to spend the money to supplement with steroids then they should have that opportunity without everyone looking down upon them and banning them from every sport possible. People say it is unfair but I feel that there are many other things that are unfair that are not considered cheating. Many people have the money to get a top of the line trainer at a top of a top of the line facility. That is an advantage that some people cannot afford and don't have the access to. Yet this is not considered cheating by any means. Yes, you can say that steroids have negative side effects that can hurt a person however, as the movie explains, almost everything has side effects. One of my favorite quotes from the movie came while this topic was discussed. Talking about the effects that peanuts can have on certain individuals where death has occurred a man said, "People can die from eating peanuts so does that mean we ban peanuts and sue God for making them?"
Everyone is going to have an opinion so arguing about it is worthless, I just don't think there should be so much negative spotlight on steroids when there are so many other things that are worse. The documentary makes people who are against steroids look like idiots, which made smile. They just had no data to back up their arguments even though they were so quick to blame steroids on every problem.
Whether you are against steroids, for steroids, or not really on either side I suggest you check this film out. It is very well put together and makes a lot of valid points, not just on steroids, but on the American Society as well.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No More Excuses

I found this video this morning and for everyone who makes lame excuses to not reach your goals in life, whatever they may be, you need to watch this.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nutrition Bite


Caffeine has been used in athletics and endurance events for many years now as a way to improve concentration and endurance. There is a large amount of research done on the effects of caffeine on exercise and to date there are no adverse health effects when taken in moderation.
Claims of caffeine include:

Improved athletic performance
Increased energy
Delayed fatigue
Sparing of muscle glycogen

The research shows that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, increasing alertness. It also delays fatigue and may slightly spare muscle glycogen. However, research shows that caffeine, although many claims include this, does not promote fat loss.

Recommendations on caffeine use say to use 3-6mg per kg of body weight one hour prior to exercise. Most energy drinks contain around 80-150mg caffeine while a cup of coffee contains around 80mg. Overconsumption of caffeine can lead to restlessness as well as headaches and nausea. One thing to keep in mind is that caffeine is a diuretic so adequate fluid intake must be maintained during exercise.

Throw Back Jam of the Day

Just thought I'd take you back to some old school bay area.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Real Core

For my job I was required to write up, with a partner, a small article for our monthly fitness newsletter. For this article we were able to choose a topic of interest and I decided that I would address something that I see ALL OF THE TIME in the gyms we run. This topic I am speaking of is core work. I always get approached by participants asking for a new exercise to do to help make their abs look better. My response is always something similar to: "Well, to make your abs actually show you have to eat well and focus on burning fat ." Most poeple nod, continue to do thier cardio at a conversasional pace on the treadmill and end thier workout with 10 minutes of crunches. I can't stand crunches and have stopped using them with my clients, for my own workouts, and am constantly working to offer my opinion of crunches to gym members and fellow trainers. I have been reading recent literature, explaining the down sides of crunches and sit-ups, as well as articles explaining other methods of core work that are more appropraite and much more beneficial. In the article that my co-worker and I composed we explained the reasoning behind avoiding crunches and sit-ups as well as provided some substitute exercises for members to try out. We explained that crunches activate the hip-flexors to draw the lower limbs towards the chest while the abdominal muscles are activated at a much lower rate. Another problem with crunches is the effect that they have on the back. One day of crunches is not going to do much damage but over years of performing the same crunches every workout there is going to be a dramatic effect on the lower back. The spine is not meant to be stressed over and over in that manner. Substituting crunches with other exercises such as planks and stabilizing movements allows the abdominals to get more activation as well as causing the rest of the core muscles to activate along with them. The purpose of the core is to transfer force from the ground and lower limbs to the upper body and the resistance on the body. The core is also important in stabalizing the center of the body while the limbs are moving and being effected by external forces. Therefore training the core should encompass these attributes. Yet, people still feel that crunching is the best way to get "chissled abs" and will continue to think this even though they are told differently. I will just stick to training my clients with more functional core exercises and avoid "abs" all together and watch them get stronger and healthier through this type of training.


Monday, December 1, 2008


I was at the gym with my buddy tonight and the often talked about concept of breeding came up again. We saw the girl that we have dubbed "Perfect"; a girl standing 5'11'', with a muscular build, and is constantly in the gym. Now I have always been a fan of thick girls (and for those who don't know, thick is a good thing and does not mean fat), but it has become more of a thing of genetics that interests me. I am trying to find a girl who has a powerful stature and could probably give me a fight. Now don't get me wrong, I still look for attractiveness in a girl, but I also pay a lot of attention to a girl's build and potential. It wasn't until about a year or so ago that I noticed that I actually did have a "type" and previous claims of not having one were false. I looked back at all of the girls that I have ever been highly attracted to and 90% were athletic girls who had a sort of genetic advantage. It was then that I found my type and decided that not only am I looking for a partner but also a "breeder", one whose genetics will mix with mine and create something amazing. I found that I have been ingrained with primal instincts and search for something deeper than a "hot face" or a model-type that society would deem as cream of the crop. I will one day find this godess and create a legacy to follow in my name.